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Welcome to the tutorial section. Here is Pepper's Ghost, a cool effect for Halloween or spooky images. This tutorial is for Bryce but could probably be translated to other 3D programs as the theory should be the same in all of them. This technique was used in Want to Take a Ride pic I did for Halloween 2001.

This tutorial will show you how to make a similar image to this, but because of copyrights, I cannot distribute the items mentioned within.

Today, we are going to learn about simulating Pepper's ghost in Bryce to make ghosts out of Poser characters...

For those of you unaware, Pepper's ghost is a special material that can be a mirror and a piece of transparent glass at the same time. It is used by carnival, theme park and movie folk to create transparent ghosts in solid environments. While generally a fairly simple technique, once you have the glass, it has amazed millions. If you've ever been to the Haunted Mansion at a Disney theme park, you've seen an example of Pepper's ghost. The ballroom scene where the transparent ghosts dance in the grand hall, as well as the hitchhiking ghosts that appear in your vehicle at the end of the ride, both share this effect.

I made this tutorial because I'd not seen any ghostly figures in Bryce images and I wondered why not. Then I found out why. Many have asked me "Why not use Transparency instead of this effect?" That would seem to make sense, only they are assuming, as I did originally, that you could just make a Poser figure transparent and he would look like a ghost. Unfortunately, they don't wind up looking like ghosts, but bad x-rays. Poser does not create one mesh that is only comprised of the surface that you see. For instance, if the hair and the head are transparent, the hair shows the outline of the head rather than just the wall behind it. This holds true for the eyeballs, the mouth cavity, and layers of clothing, some of which cannot be fixed with making part of the figure invisible. So I came up with this technique in order to do the ghostly figures I wanted and to share it with you.

This tutorial assumes a working knowledge of Bryce as well as how to import Poser objects into Bryce. Bringing in Poser objects with texture intact is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but there are many tutorials out there that talk about this subject. Also, while this is for Bryce 4 or 5/Poser 4, the theory can be translated into a myriad of different 3d programs that have similar reflecting materials.

And away we go into the smoldering sanctum of the Bryce supernatural...

Step 1: Creating the glass...

Load up Bryce, select New document and create a cube object...

This cube object should span the entire length of the scene on X and Y, while only being one pixel wide on Z. This object is the glass that will reflect your ghost. The reason it's one pixel wide on Z is because if you made it a standard box, the ghost would reflect off both surfaces on the Z coordinate, making it fuzzy or have multiple reflections. The box should sit dead center in the scene so that you have room on both sides for the objects. I find placing it via the top view works best.

Then set the material to Light Glass (under Glasses in Materials Folder).

Then go into Materials via the M button and then change the following from the Light Glass preset.

Bump Height:0

You should now have a piece of glass that is see through and reflective as well.

Step 2: Working Cameras

The camera for Pepper's Ghost is important as it will be the eye through the glass and at the same time will capture the ghost's reflections. You will want to place the camera view in Bryce toward the glass and your solid objects (see next step) such that the camera will be able to see both the set and the ghosts. You may also want to set the director's view toward the ghost objects (but not behind the glass). This will make it easier for you to align the characters with their solid surroundings.

Step 3: Placing objects...

This is probably the most difficult part of the concept to explain, though it will make sense...

A typical object placement looks like this (from the top)...

      { solid objects >

X------------------------ <-- Glass placed across center of scene on X and Y

     < ghosted objects>
Solid objects are placed on one side of the glass. These are objects you want to appear in their full form. This can be anything from walls to chairs to torches, etc. In our scene, these solid objects will appear as if the glass was not there. All solid objects must be on the same side of the glass, otherwise reflection occurs. In 3D, this might be considered a problem, but the camera is placed very close to the glass so that the scene takes over the entire view.

Ghost objects are placed on the opposite side of the glass (in this case the bottom (if viewed from top) or in front of the glass (if viewed from front)). These are not seen directly by the camera, only as reflections in the glass. When placing ghosted images, for instance a woman to sit in a chair, it is important to be sure that the ghosted object (the woman) is the same distance from the glass as the solid object (the chair). This way, the appearance is given that the ghost is actually in the proper place in the scene.

Another note, do not make any part transparent that would not have been if the object was in a solid scene. The glass will do that for you.


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